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Chuck George leaves KOLD

GEORGE LEAVES KOLD

A long and arduous on-air trek has finally come to a close for KOLD Channel 13 meteorologist Chuck George.

George, who recently admitted in a KOLD feature story that he was suffering from severe depression, announced he is returning to school and plans to pursue a doctorate.

George joined KOLD in 2003. It didn't take long for his engaging delivery to captivate the market. Within five years he was arguably the most popular television news personality in Tucson.

But in 2010, he took the first of a number of lengthy absences from his weather reporting duties and never did seem able to stay on track. Prior to his KOLD farewell Aug. 13, George hadn't appeared on television since late June.

KGUN NAMES NEWS DIRECTOR

Tom Burke is the new news director at KGUN Channel 9. Burke's background includes stints in Pittsburgh; Fresno, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; and Columbus, Ga.

He'll be busy from the get-go. In addition to stabilizing a newsroom that has had to deal with a pair of embarrassing incidents—one technical, the other being duped by a fake suicide story—since the departure of Forrest Carr, there are rumblings that significant personnel changes are in the offing.

KLPX HAS A LIBERAL BIRTHDAY POLICY

I'd like to take this opportunity to extend a hearty thank-you to classic rocker KLPX 96.1 FM for welcoming Whitesnake to its 34th birthday party.

As someone who recognizes that 34 years can be a long time playing the same songs, I won't worry too much about the following technicality: At one point, KLPX celebrated its birthday around July 4. Nowadays? Well, it's whenever it can help promote old-timers who are making the casino rounds.

Now that might seem catty. You know, the dude who wants to come off as the hipster cool guy who writes for the hipster cool alternative weekly taking an easy shot at a bunch of aging rockers who still manage to make the hairspray business profitable.

That would be the obvious route to take. Instead, I'll opt for the truth.

I like Whitesnake. There's really no reason to hide it. Even though lead singer David Coverdale left most of his raspy vocals at the casino show in northern Nevada two nights earlier, and despite an inordinate amount of microphone-stand pelvic thrusts (I lost count by the second song, which is disturbing enough in that I bothered to count that long), it's just not worth denying my enjoyment of the band.

How much do I like hair metal? It's probably more accurate to ask how much I like Whitesnake. I made it a point to schedule my vacation around the Aug. 7 KLPX "Birthday Bash" show at Casino del Sol, and drove 14 hours from Utah so I could make it in time. And before someone unimaginatively types it in the comments section in the online version of this story, I indeed was going down the only road I've ever known, just to get to that casino, and just to see Whitesnake.

I wouldn't make that drive for just any hair band. I certainly didn't make that trek for Night Ranger, which opened the show. Now, I thought Night Ranger was pretty good, but I could have done with less Damn Yankees tunes and would have replaced that drivel with "Dawn Patrol," possibly the band's best song, and the long-since-forgotten title track of its debut album.

Conceivably, a classic rock station like KLPX could resurrect a cool song like "Dawn Patrol" as part of its push for the band coming to town, but let's not get too carried away with innovation.

This is, after all, terrestrial radio's great paradoxical format: born from the roots of rebellion but now relegated to a listening audience that perceives it as little more than comfort food for increasingly geriatric ears.

Classic rock remains a mainstay in terrestrial radio, but the format has suffered severely in light of an aging demographic and a playlist that has been painfully overexposed over the course of its four decades of providing us with Floydian Slips, Get the Led Out and Mandatory Metallica. Although in fairness, the latter has only been beaten senseless for the last quarter-century, so it's still pretty fresh by comparison.

To its credit, though, KLPX has managed to tweak enough of a niche to remain relevant. That's a pretty sound accomplishment, considering that as recently as two years ago, rumors were rampant that ownership considered jettisoning the format altogether. And at least it has a hair metal show, Saturday Night Loud, hosted by Razor, which plays some good stuff, even though it's helmed by the guy who should have his own Tucson Weekly Best Of category for most dumbass radio name.

But even with the occasional nugget ostracized to a nighttime weekend slot, the terrestrial component is no match for the variety a satellite platform like Sirius/XM can offer. I know this, because on the aforementioned trip to Utah my economy car was equipped with satellite radio. This is the part where the cool, wanna-be hipster writer for the alternative weekly would tell you he only listened to NPR, BBC, POTUS, Sirius/XM U and Bluegrass Junction, but the opportunity for B.S. is long past. It was Bring on The Boneyard, Deep Tracks and Studio 54.

I'm sorry. I don't hear KLPX playing "Dynamite" by the Scorpions and the Krokus classic "Long Stick Goes Boom," two songs revered in metal circles for the subtext of their wordplay. But it did welcome Whitesnake to town, and that's about as unsubtle a name as a band could have. This was, after all, the group with an album entitled Slide It In that made a name for itself with videos featuring Tawny Kitaen slinking on the hood of car while she joined Coverdale in presumably accounting for about 8 percent of Colombia's GDP.

So, thank you, nonetheless, KLPX. I don't know how many bands are still upright, but here's hoping for numerous successful birthday bashes in the years ahead. And heck, celebrate them whenever you damn well please.

More by John Schuster

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